This walk is part of the trek The West Highland Way.
The third stage of the WHW consists of going up Loch Lomond. We start by climbing steadily in a very beautiful forest, for superb views of the lake, while crossing waterfalls that descend from Ben Lomond. Once back at the edge of the lake, follow the shore for a long time, more or less closely, on paths that lead you on a rollercoaster ride winding between the rocks. A brief ascent between beautiful landscapes and a descent to Inverarnan rounding off this long stage.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Departure from Rowardennan Hotel.
WHW official signposting: signposts with thistle flower + signposts with yellow arrow for changes of direction + written signposts.
(D) Go north on the road then on a path parallel to it, on the right.
(1) At the car park, turn right towards the Youth Hostel. Pass a small building on your left and follow a track in the shade. Return to the loch and continue north.
(2) At a fork, take the right track (the left one leads to the youth hostel). At the next fork, go left. Further on, ignore an access to a B&B on the right and continue straight on the track. Cross a river and continue in the forest on the track. Soon reach the edge of the loch and go straight for about 2km.
(3) At a fork (private access on the left), take the right path, cross a fence and go uphill. Reach the intersection of two possible WHW routes.
NB The positioning of this intersection on the OpenSpace basemap is inaccurate.
(4) At this point therefore, there are two options which meet at point (7):
- Follow the lower road downhill, as the sign indicates.
- Follow the upper route, as traced on the map and described below. Then take the right path which continues to climb in the forest. The slope is steady and moderate. Walk through an oak forest and then, on a slope, a coniferous forest.
(5) A few metres to the left enjoy a beautiful view of the loch (bench). Continue on the right path down into a forest of oaks and birches.
(6) Ignore a turn-off on the left and continue uphill. Go back down and find, further down, the road coming from the left (again, the OpenSpace basemap is not entirely accurate).
(7) Continue to descend. Cross a river ford, go up and then down. Reach the edge of the loch then cross a river on a footbridge. Take another footbridge to cross the Cailness Burn.
(8) Leaving the bridge, turn left and cross a space where ferns abound. Then climb stone steps. Take several gangways and alternate long ascents and descents, while remaining close to the shore of the lake. After an information panel on the Great Trossachs Path, cross the Arklet Water using a footbridge (waterfall). Go down the stairs to the left to reach Inversnaid Hotel.
(9) Pass by the hotel on your right and cross the car park at an angle to the left to find the WHW signage. Start on a good path, go past a treatment plant and a sign for the Inversnaid National Reserve.
(10) Go around a sheet metal boat shelter (right), turn left and take a footbridge. After another footbridge, the path winds its way between rocks and roots. Pass beneath the foot of the cliffs and reach an intersection (you can take a short detour to the left towards Rob Roy's Cave).
(11) Continue right on the path. Always stay close to the loch on the tortuous and stony path which alternates short ascents and descents. This section may seem long...
(12) Take a wooden ladder then a footbridge to cross a waterfall. Continue on the path by the lake.
(13) The trail leaves the shore of the loch and continues straight into the forest. Climb gently between the small hill of Creag a Mhadaig on the left and more imposing slopes on the right. Leave the forest and continue on a mostly flat section. Go back down and pass the old buildings on your left.
(14) Return to the shore of Loch Lomond. Continue on the path and ford a few rivers.
(15) Move away again from the shore of the lake and start to go uphill. Take a footbridge. Just after crossing a stanchion, come to a crossroads.
(16) Continue straight towards Inverarnan. Go along a low stone wall and continue to climb: the slope is steep at first, then more moderate.
(17) Reach a flat area and cross some wet areas (wooden beams). Pass a small loch on the left hand (Dubh Lochan).
(18) Pass a few ruined buildings and start the last descent. Go under a high voltage line and continue to descend. Cross the Ben Glas Burn and quickly reach Beinglas Farm (A).
D : mi 0 - alt. 75ft
1 : mi 0.15 - alt. 59ft - Car park
2 : mi 0.47 - alt. 69ft - Path forks
3 : mi 1.55 - alt. 89ft - Path forks
4 : mi 1.92 - alt. 131ft - Separation of the upper and lower routes
5 : mi 3.08 - alt. 469ft - Viewpoint over - Loch Lomond
6 : mi 3.88 - alt. 197ft - Intersection
7 : mi 4.53 - alt. 213ft - Junction of the upper and lower routes
8 : mi 5.67 - alt. 62ft - Cailness
9 : mi 7.44 - alt. 56ft - Inversnaid Hotel
10 : mi 7.79 - alt. 69ft - Boat House
11 : mi 8.31 - alt. 102ft - Access to Rob Roy's Cave
12 : mi 10.16 - alt. 98ft - Ladder
13 : mi 10.51 - alt. 79ft - Leave the lakeside
14 : mi 11.33 - alt. 62ft - Loch Lomond
15 : mi 11.7 - alt. 52ft - Start of uphill section
16 : mi 11.83 - alt. 95ft - Crossing
17 : mi 12.36 - alt. 308ft - Ledge
18 : mi 13.09 - alt. 335ft - Ruins
A : mi 14.04 - alt. 43ft
Waterproof hiking shoes. Rain protection: rain cape, backpack protection, etc. Protection against the cold, depending on one’s sensitivity. Midge repellent.
The route is relatively simple and the circuit is very well marked at intersections. A physical map is useful (at least the one that accompanies this description) or a route saved on smartphone (remember to save an offline map in advance).
Food and supplies:
Bring extra water reserves and a picnic when you start.
(11) Inversnaid Hotel: hotel/bar/restaurant. Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 386 223.
(A) Beinglas Farm: some shops.
Accommodation at finish point (A):
- Beinglas Farm. Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 704 281. Bar-restaurant and campsite.
- Drovers Inn, for a more comfortable, warm pub atmosphere. The hostel is located about 700m further on: at Beinglas Farm, take the small road on the left and take the bridge over the Falloch river, then follow the A82 road to the left until you reach the hostel. Tel.: + 44 (0)1301 704 234. Bar Restaurant.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
- Multiple points of view on the Loch Lomond on the whole course.
- Nice perspectives of the slopes bordering the lake on its left bank (the foothills of Ben Lomond).
- Numerous waterfalls and numerous streams.
- At point (11), off the route: Rob Roy's Cave where, according to legend, the outlaw Robert Roy MacGregor hid (1661-1734).
An early introduction to two classic Long Distance Routes, starting from the picturesque village of Drymen. The West Highland Way is a long distance route that runs from Milngavie, near Glasgow, all the way to Fort William, and it passes close to Drymen. The Rob Roy Way starts in Drymen and ends in Pitlochry.
This second stage of the WHW is superb! It consists of three distinct parts. First of all, we cross a pretty forested area. Then, after a pleasant crossing of meadows, we climb Conic Hill, from where the panorama over the Highlands and Loch Lomond is very extensive. After a steep descent to the port of Balmaha, you alternate between the lakeside passages and climbs and descents in the forest.
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A superb hike, marked by the diversity of landscapes, the omnipresence of water (lochs, rivers, streams, waterfalls... and the rain), and the wild beauty of the landscape. Last but not least, you are likely to make a few friends along the way!
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.